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Councillors on both sides of the political divide have called for greater scrutiny of decisions at Lichfield District Council.
The four members of the Labour group revealed at a meeting of the local authority earlier this week that they had decided to forego any vice-chair committee positions.
Opposition leader Sue Woodward said the move would ensure they could focus on scrutiny – and added that it was essential all councillors played their part in the process on behalf of residents.
“There is a huge responsibility for us as an opposition group to ensure we are an effective and responsible opposition.
“We have decided to forego positions due to our reduced numbers. This is not sour grapes or taking our ball home – scrutiny is essential.
“Backbench members must take responsibility and understand that it is the most important job for any non-executive member.
“Scrutiny does not mean opposition.”
Long-serving Conservative councillors supported the call from Labour, urging new members to engage in scrutiny committees as representatives of local taxpayers.
Cllr Richard Cox said: “Colleagues must get to grips with scrutiny.
“We have a duty to do the job we have been elected to do.
“The recent review questioned scrutiny and it is clear there is work to do.
“Members must remember they are there to challenge and question decisions.”
His colleague Cllr Alan White added: “I would echo the comments about the power of scrutiny.
“Backbenchers have an effective role to play on behalf of the electorate.”